New election in N.C.’s 9th district Tuesday; Experts say race could be ‘canary in the coal mine’ for 2020

NC9 Election Preview

BLADEN COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - More than nine months after the North Carolina State Board of Elections refused to certify the results of the election in the state’s 9th congressional district, voters are headed back to the polls Tuesday.

Democrat Dan McCready and Republican Dan Bishop will face off for the district that includes more than 788,000 people, and stretches from rural Bladen County in the east to Charlotte in the west.

Catawba College political science professor Michael Bitzer said turnout will likely be low Tuesday, due to the race taking place in an odd-year and with nothing else in the ballot in many parts of the district.

However, he thinks it may be an indicator for what could be coming down the line in 2020, particularly as it relates to specific demographics, such as white suburban women.

“This ninth congressional district race could be a canary in the coal mine to indicate what might be happening in 2020,” he said.

Bitzer has studied the absentee by mail and absentee one-stop returns so far this year, and written on his blog comparing this year to the same period in 2018. Nearly all of those who have voted absentee or one stop so far also voted in 2018.

Bitzer said Tuesday may indicate voter confidence in the wake of the investigation, or at least if voters are feeling more comfortable voting in person rather than by-mail.

“Ultimately the integrity of the system has been compromised," he said.

However, he added: "but we understand now what those issues are and there will be those of us who will be much more vigilant as should the voters as well.”

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